BILL REPEALS CADILLAC TAX FROM ALASKA HEALTH INSURANCE
The minimum age to buy tobacco products will go from 19 to 21 in Alaska and several other states, if President Donald Trump signs a spending bill that was passed by the U.S. Senate on Thursday to avert a government shutdown.
The tobacco provision was one of many policy elements in the spending bill that included funds to build a wall along the border with Mexico, a 3.1 percent increase for military personnel, and the full repeal of Obamacare-related taxes on the most expensive health insurance plans, sometimes called “Cadillac plans.”
Currently, 19 states have set the minimum age for tobacco purchases at 21, but in Alaska, 19-year-olds can still buy cigarettes and e-cigarettes. The new age limit, supported by the many in the tobacco industry and by the president himself, would take effect in September. The bill stopped short of banning flavored vaping products, something anti-smoking forces had lobbied for, since those products are more attractive to young people.
The president must sign the bill by Friday to avoid a government shutdown.
Sen. Dan Sullivan of Alaska issued a statement after the passage of the spending bills, which drew strong bipartisan support. The first one passed with on a vote of 71-23.
“While I continue to believe that the process by which we fund the government is fundamentally flawed and must be reformed, these bills include significant wins for Alaskans. At long last, we were able to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s so-called Cadillac Tax. This tax, up to 40 percent on health insurance plans, threatened the vast majority of plans offered in Alaska—including union plans and plans offered to state workers—and had the potential to collapse the entire health insurance market in Alaska had it been fully implemented. We were also able to do away with the ‘Kiddie Tax,’ which, among others things, targeted young Alaskans receiving their PFDs, and we were able to provide tax relief for those impacted by the 2018 Southcentral earthquake. I also fought hard to make sure this bill funded the Secure Rural Schools Program. Further, we made continued progress on substantial Alaska military investments, including over $50 million of Coast Guard infrastructure investments to be ready to take new ships arriving in Kodiak and Southeast. I’ve continued to press for these investments as chair of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness, and also as Chair of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Security. I applaud Senator Murkowski for her diligent work on the Senate Appropriations Committee and Congressman Young for securing these provisions in the House.”